Do as I do

The CEO should be the Chief Delegator, not the Chief Doer. MARCIA GRIFFIN

Marcia Griffin

By Marcia Griffin

One of the huge challenges of being a CEO and building a business is trusting others to do what they are meant to do and what they say they will do.

Now really I am writing this to remind myself about the importance of delegation and trust.

My problem is this – when I say I will do something, I have to do it; and I do do it. Therefore I find it extremely difficult to work with people who say “I’ll do it” and don’t. In fact why do people commit when they know they simply don’t have the time/intention of doing it?

In every day life people continually say things like:

  • I will call you…
  • I will send you this…

And they don’t!

Working with CEOs it is clear that the people most capable of training and teaching others are the ones who can really grow a business.

If you believe as I used to that I was the only person I could rely on – building a business is a really tough journey – it is exhausting and can lead to burnout.

One of the key solutions to this problem is to have really clear job descriptions and KPIs for the team – then everyone knows what needs to be achieved and by when.

I am amazed at the number of small businesses that rely on memory and individual expertise, with no written systems.

This creates uncertainty, not only for the CEO but everyone in the business. I think people are generally trying to do their best – but they need systems and directions, they need their team leader to be a coach and trainer.

So this leads me to a second key solution; clear communication. People need to be given clear instructions – and if we are in doubt about someone’s capability we need to check on whether or not the instructions are understood.

One of the amazing things about working with the Japanese was that they always said they understood even if they did not (in Japanese culture not losing face is critical). And I think we sometimes forget it is hard for some people to say they do not understand, so they say “Yes I will do it” but in fact have no idea how to.

The challenge for the CEO is to know this and communicate in such a way that people can admit they don’t know how to do something – in other words create a culture where asking questions is applauded!

So the CEO needs to communicate clearly to make sure the team is clear about tasks and priorities, and is not afraid to ask for advice in advance of problems – not after they occur.

For the CEO to have fewer sleepless nights, the focus needs to be on:

  • Well thought-through systems.
  • Clear communication.
  • Training.
  • A culture where questions are applauded and mistakes can be admitted.

I am now enroute to an adventure in Bhutan – and am trusting others to do what they say they will do!


To read more Marcia Griffin blogs, click here.

High Heeled Success is Marcia Griffin’s latest book, and is a frank account of building a business from a solitary sales person to a multi-million dollar business with 4700 sales consultants around Australia and New Zealand. It recounts successes and failures along the way and was written to inspire entrepreneurs-particularly women to triumph in business.

High Heeled Success (Kerr Publishing) is available directly from Marcia ([email protected]) or Domain Books



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